GP3 Series

Hughes Holds on to Take First GP3 Victory with ART in Austria

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Jake Hughes: GP3 Series 2018 - Red Bull Ring
Credit: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service

ART Grand Prix‘s Jake Hughes was victorious in the GP3 Series Sprint Race at the Red Bull Ring.

This means all four ART drivers have wins to their names this season.

Hughes already had two GP3 victories to his name from his previous stint in the series back in 2016 with DAMS in which he won the Sprint Races at the Hockenheimring and Yas Marina.

It was a strong defensive drive from the Briton who overcame the challenge of Pedro Piquet who came home in second, with Leonardo Pulcini charging through to third place.

The race started with David Beckmann on reverse grid pole position, however the German made a slow getaway. As a result the Trident pair of Ryan Tveter and Giuliano Alesi swamped him, with the two squeezing the Jenzer Motorsport driver on both sides and the trio collided ending all of their races.

A virtual safety car period was deployed to clear their stricken trio and Hughes found himself leading the race.

When racing resumed, Hughes allowed him some breathing space over the Brazilian to break out of the DRS range as Piquet found himself coming under fire from Pulcini.

Pulcini soon found himself with Feature Race winner Callum Ilott, Dorian Boccolacci and Niko Kari for company. Ilott made a pass for third but Pulcini was able to take the place back.

As the threat behind loomed Piquet reeled in Hughes with a series of quick laps, with Pulcini too managing to join them.

On lap eight, Pulcini attempted a daring lunge which left both Piquet and Hughes scrambling to defend their positions but they remained as they were.

However, on the following lap Piquet used his DRS availability to snatch the lead away.

Although, Piquet’s time out front barely lasted a full lap of the Red Bull Ring as Hughes – who still had all of his DRS available to him – passed him with the aid of DRS to regain the advantage.

Having dropped Kari, Ilott and Boccolacci homed in on on the trio as the Finnish driver was shoved off of the track by Nikita Mazepin at Turn 3 to allow Alessio Lorandi the opportunity to pass them both.

Ilott went for a move on Pulcini for third place but the Italian hung on as the pair rounded corner after corner side-by-side.

Out front, Hughes was having a much easier time defending now Piquet was out of DRS usage.

Boccolacci, had be conservative and had saved his DRS activations until the end to blast past Ilott and seemed set to challenge Pulcini for the final step of the podium.

On the final lap, the Frenchman went for the move but ran wide to hand the place back. Ilott found himself involved with this and was left with nowhere to go – Lorandi took advantage of the situation to sweep past Boccolacci and Ilott.

In the lead, Hughes took the flag but just eight tenths over Piquet for his first win of the season. Pulcini rounded off the podium having survived a late onslaught from Lorandi.

Boccolacci was fifth ahead of Ilott, as Mazepin took seventh ahead of Kari who completed the points scorers.

Having been the championship leader coming to the Red Bull Ring, Anthoine Hubert heads to the next round at Silverstone second in the standings behind Ilott.

The British round takes place 6-8 July and is the final part of the triple header as six points separate Ilott and Hubert with Pulcini just two points behind.

2018 GP3 Series Results: Red Bull Ring – Sprint Race

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An NCTJ accredited Journalism Graduate covering DTM and the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
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